Genesis and Exodus of the Dietrichs

We will begin with a February 5th marriage record today.  It comes from the church records of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg, and I have to show two images for this marriage record.

Dietrich Fritsche marriage record Immanuel Altenburg MO

Dietrich Fritsche marriage record 2 Immanuel Altenburg MO
Dietrich/Grosse marriage record – Immanuel, Altenburg, MO

The marriage took place in 1885.  The groom was Richard Dietrich; the bride was Clara Grosse.  Clara was a widow.  Her maiden name was Clara Fritsche.

Most of the content of this article will be about the Dietrich family, but first let me just spend a moment on Clara Fritsche.  She was born on October 7, 1858 and baptized at Immanuel, Altenburg.  She was the daughter of Carl and Maria (Engert) Fritsche.  This is her baptism record.  It is one of the very early baptisms in that church’s records, since Immanuel began in 1857.

Clara Fritsche baptism record Immanuel Altenburg MO
Clara Fritsche baptism record – Immanuel, Altenburg, MO

Her first husband was Paul Hieronymus Grosse.  They were married in 1875, had one child, and then he died in 1877.  A previous post was written about that one child that was born to this Grosse couple.  It was titled, New Year’s Nuptials.

Richard Dietrich was born on October 26, 1861 and baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg.  He was the son of Friedrich (Fritz) and Beata (Mengel) Dietrich.  Below is his baptism record.

Richard Dietrich baptism record Trinity Altenburg MO
Richard Dietrich baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

I want to take some time to backtrack into the Dietrich family.  Richard’s father, Friedrich, came to America with his parents and siblings in 1840.  The Dietrich surname was not part of the original 1839 immigration, but it certainly entered into this area not long after the originals.  We find the Dietrich family in this passenger list from the Talma, which landed in New Orleans in May of 1840.  Friedrich was called Wilhelm on this list.

Dietrich family passenger list Talma May 1840
Dietrich family passenger list – Talma, 1840

This Dietrich family hailed from Vaihingen, Germany, in an area known as Baden-Wurttenberg.  That city is quite near Stuttgart and can be seen on this map.

Vaihingen, Stuttgart, Germany map

I found a marriage record for Fritz’s parents, Johann Gottlieb Dietrich and Dorothea Musse.  It took place at the Vaihingen parish.

Dietrich Musse marriage record Vaihingen Germany 1813
Dietrich/Musse marriage record – Vaihingen, Germany

There is also another interesting record found in the Vaihingen church books showing the membership of the Dietrich family.

Dietrich church membership – Vaihingen, Germany

The list on the bottom right shows the list of children in the family.  However, toward the upper right, you will see an interesting notation.  I have enlarged it below.

Dietrich record Vaihingen immigrated to America 1840

It notes that this family left for America in 1840.

Shortly after arriving in America, after a brief stop in St. Louis, the Dietrich family acquired property in Perry County.  That property can be seen on the map below which we have in a Dietrich family history binder here at the museum.

Dietrich land map Altenburg

For those of you familiar with this area, this land was located on what is now called “Y Road” which leads out of Altenburg and heads north to The Ridge.  The Dietrich family is shown here in the 1880 census for Brazeau Township.

Richard Dietrich 1880 census Brazeau Township MO
1880 census – Brazeau Township, MO

The Dietrich family binder includes this old photograph of the Friedrich Dietrich home.

Friedrich Dietrich home Altenburg

Someone also took a photo of this home in 1963.

Friedrich Dietrich home 1963 Altenburg

Let’s return to Richard and Clara.  Their first child was born and baptized in Altenburg.  However, when their second child was born in 1887, the baptism took place at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois.  Only one more child was born after that one, but the only child from this marriage that lived a full life was their firstborn son.

Beata, Richard’s mother, died in Altenburg in 1881.  It is likely that she was buried at Trinity Lutheran Cemetery, but there is no gravestone on  Friedrich did not die until 1894, and by that time, Richard and his family were in Jacob, Illinois.  In fact, that is where we find a death record for Friedrich.

Friedrich Dietrich death record Christ Jacob IL
Friedrich Dietrich death record – Christ, Jacob, IL

The 1900 census for Fountain Bluff Township in Illinois shows the Dietrich family.  A Martin Degenhardt was living in that household as a farm laborer.  Richard was a farmer.

Richard Dietrich 1900 census Fountain Bluff IL
1900 census – Fountain Bluff, IL

The 1910 census shows the Dietrich family living in Baldwin, Illinois, which is located not far from Red Bud.  Richard was at that time working as a merchant in a general store.

Richard Dietrich 1910 census Baldwin IL
1910 census – Baldwin, IL

Clara died in 1924; Richard died in 1935.  They are both buried in the Christ Lutheran Cemetery in Jacob, Illinois.


I shake my head when I look at Clara’s gravestone.  I do not see any indication that her name was Clara.  She is just called “Wife of R. Dietrich”.

The Dietrich surname was indeed one of the early names here in East Perry County.  That name can be found on several pages of our German Family Tree.  However, it is also a name that has pretty much disappeared.  There are several reasons for this in addition to Richard moving his family across the river into Illinois.  Another one of the members of that original Dietrich family moved his family to Kansas.  I do know that no one with the Dietrich surname is found in a phone book for this area now.  It is a name that came and went.




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